Love & Sex

Drink This Cocktail: The Number One

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The bartenders at Hotel Delmano make an elaborate shot-cocktail combo.

Eli & Jonathan, Bartenders

Hotel Delmano
82 Berry St., Brooklyn

Tell me about this multi-faceted cocktail.
E: This is one of our special off-the-menu cocktails. It's an over-proof classic rum daiquiri  a classic daiquiri with turbinado instead of simple syrup. We pair it with a shot of mezcal and a lime wedge dunked in our house-made, chicory-smoked salt.

So you sip the cocktail, take the shot and do the lime?
E: Mezcal's not exactly like your college tequila shot. It's something you're going to want to sip on and enjoy. It's a nice smoky compliment to the light fruity daiquiri.

This is incredible. Are you guys scared I'm going to drink it all and not leave any left for you?
E: Not at all.
J: We can always make more.

The salt is delicious. It's so hickory.
E: Yeah, the salt is awesome because it's mixing smoky with sweet and tart and everything.

How did this drink come about?
J: Andy, who’s our manager's girlfriend, wanted to come up with a summer bartender's special that wouldn't be on the menu, so that people could come in and order it to show off to their friends that they knew something that wasn't on the menu. She came up with this.
E: She's actually in my band. She plays keyboard and sings.
J: She's a synth goddess.

You should have named this The Synth Goddess.
J: The Number One is a good name because it's how you start your night. It's a pretty good way to start your night.
E: It's a great way.
J: Especially if you're going to start your night here and then go get really crazy somewhere else.

That's reasonable. What drink are you gonna send to a pretty girl at the bar?
J: Am I behind the bar?

Either as a bartender or customer. Does it make such a difference?
E and J: Yes.
J: If you're behind the bar, you want to show off while you're making it.
E: I don't know, I think it's kind of creepy to send over a drink when I'm working. Like, "Hey, down there."
J: Well, generally they'll ask you for what you think. Bartender's choice and all that, I'm not just going to make a girl a drink and plop it down in front of her and be like, "Hey, baby." That's a little presumptuous. But if I'm on the other side of the bar, I'm probably going to send champagne. Or right now, rose. Something nice and light. ‘Cause you know, people are finicky with alcohol.
E: I'm the complete opposite though. I'd say make friends with the bartender and he'll send over a tray of margaritas. Maybe that's the Florida in me talking.

What if women are looking at you two hot bartending life-partners. Has anyone ever tried to pick you up?
J: Yes.
E: Yeah.
J: A couple bartenders in here have relationships with girls they've met at the bar while they were working. I try not to, because it always ends up like, "Oh, what's your favorite cocktail to make?" "What do you like to drink?" "Tell me about working in a bar." And I've just sweated my ass off for nine hours talking cocktails. Can't we talk about… I don't know, politics? [laughs]

Are you telling me there are cocktail groupies?
J: Yes!
E: Definitely.

This is a whole new world.
E: One of my bartender friends ended up with a young lady who invited him over to her house, and made him like, a proper Old-Fashioned with muddled sugar, one of the big iced cubes… there are definitely cocktail groupies.

Could you ever date a girl who just wants a glass of white wine? I'm talking about myself.
J: There's nothing boring about a glass of white wine.

Or one who just wants a rum and coke?
E: A lot of the guys I know who work in the industry start with a shot and a beer when they get off work.
J: A girl who knows what she wants and will get that every time? That's good.
E: Yeah, definitely.
J: In my book it's much better than a girl who comes up and waffles between six different drinks, doesn't know what she wants. You give her a cool drink and then she asks for rum and coke.

What if I wanted to send a drink to a guy?
E: I don't think I've ever seen that happen.
J: I've seen it happen. I mean general, I'd say send over whatever he's drinking. Dudes in general seem to have a specific drink that they like. But you can't really go wrong sending a guy a bourbon-based drink. A Manhattan.
E: Yeah, that's classic masculinity in a glass. In New York, people spend a lot of time working. When they get to the bar, they don't want to be bothered by some scumbag sending them a fucking wine spritzer.
J: That's why I said send them something they're already drinking.
E: Yeah, I guess. Then they're not going to have to drink something that they don't want to drink.

Tell me about your mixologist life-partner relationship.
E: We got manis last week.
J: We did.

I don't even get weekly manicures. Do you have to keep up maintenance because you work with your hands so much?
J: Yeah, when you're working behind the bar you're getting your hands in a lot of liquids. And also- people are seeing your hands when you're giving them drinks.
E: Nothing's grosser than getting a fourteen-dollar cocktail from someone with gnarly hands. Speaking of which, should we do another drink?

Sure. I'll have more mezcal. So what's the best drink to end on? To seal the deal?
J: If people are having shots of tequila, they will end up making out in a cab on the way home. It's go time.

The Number One
3/4 oz. Demerara syrup
1 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. over-proof rum (ideally Smith and Cross)

Shake and serve up, with a lime wheel. Pair with a shot of Sombra mezcal and a chicory-smoked-salt lime wedge.